I’m a purist when it comes to cuisines. The thought of curried chicken on pizza scandalizes me, and Italian herbs in salads that go with Indian dishes horrify me no end. When it comes to guacamole, the flavours must be Mexican, and certainly not Chinese, Indian or Italian. But this Indian adjustment improves the flavour and appearance, so please bear with me. You won’t be disappointed.
This recipe serves two greedy types, or four well behaved types, if they are eating it as an appetizer.
¼ cup finely diced red onion
1 finely diced Thai chili (or to taste)
½ teaspoon coriander powder (optional)
several grates of black pepper
¾ teaspoon amchur powder (green mango powder)
1 ripe avocado
1 teaspoon coarse salt (or to taste)
Back in the early 70s, when I lived in Flushing, Queens, I fell in love with the avocado. They were unusual in most of the United States and Canada back then, and I was clueless about their varying degrees of ripeness. When I first followed a recipe for guacamole, I think the recipe’s author was equally clueless, because I was instructed to mash the avocado with a mortar and pestle. At the time, I assumed all Mexican cooks had bulging biceps, because mashing that stone hard avocado into a paste took half an hour of muscle aching effort.
In fact, only a ripe avocado will do, and you will know it’s ripe if it has a slight give. Avocados can be bought hard, but leave them on the counter with tomatoes, and they’ll ripen in a couple of days.
Once ripe, they’re so soft they can be easily mashed with a fork, in a few minutes.
Assemble the onion, chili and spices in a bowl large enough to allow for mixing and mashing. Run a knife around the avocado, starting at the top. Pull it apart, and then run the knife down the first half, close to the skin. Then run a spoon against the inside of the skin, and pull out the slices.
Pluck out the pit, scrape off any bits into your bowl, and go after the other half. I hate to see even a molecule of avocado wasted. This method ensures every bit is eaten.
|Scrape out every precious bit!|
On the other hand, avocado is one of the few fruits that won’t be composted. The leathery skins and pits will sit in your compost forever, refusing to comply. I used to try, only to find my dog digging up three year old uncomposted avocado skins, chomping merrily. They hadn’t changed one iota.
As for the mysterious Indian ingredient, Amchur powder is an improvement over the Mexican choice of lime or lemon juice.
I like the guacamole a little tangy, but those juices give it a queer transparency that I find disturbing. The amchur powder gives the perfect amount of tang, without ruining the appearance of the dish. (A big ol' bowl of algae is never so lovely to eat, in my humble opinion. The amchur keeps it looking like food!)
Mash the avacado slices into the onion, chili and spices with a fork. You may want to adjust for salt, or add more or less chilies, or even more amchur if you desire. I like the coarse salt, because the granules pop in my mouth. As a lover of cumin seed, I like that little pop too, but ground cumin is more conservative, if you want to go that route.
|This will mash up in a few minutes, no big muscles needed!|
The avocado is technically a fruit, although it’s not sweet, but savory. It’s luscious and creamy, and half an avocado is considered a sensible item to eat when one is focused on healthy eating. So go ahead, and make this gorgeous little treat. I ate half of it for my dinner, but you could share with a few guests. They will love you for it.